Roderick Bruce Bentley, 91, died on February 15, 2013, in Gove County Medical Center. He was born on June 20, 1921, to Art and Vera Louise (Jennison) Bentley on a ranch just south of the Smoky Hill River in Gove County where he lived and worked all of his life on the land he loved.
Rod graduated from Dighton High School with the class of 1940. He answered the call to serve his country in 1942 by volunteering to serve in the U.S. Army Air Force for the duration of World War II.
In 1944 he married Saralee Flora of Quinter. After the war they returned to farm and ranch in Gove and Lane counties, where they raised their three children.
In 1950, Rod ran for the Kansas House of Representatives from Gove County. During his two terms in office, he served as chairman of the Election and vice-chairman of the Ways and Means committees.
He was an active member of the Kansas Livestock Association and the Kansas Association of Wheat Growers. He enjoyed being involved in both the Gove and Lane County historical societies. He attended the First Christian Church in Dighton and served as a deacon. His community service included a stint on the Shields School Board. He was a dedicated member of the Dighton Rotary International Club and served as Rotary District 5670 Governor in 1992-93.
He enjoyed traveling and in 1991 he served as a volunteer agricultural consultant to wheat farmers in Saratov, Russia through Volunteers in Overseas Cooperative Assistance, a non-profit international people-to-people economic development organization.
Rod is survived and will be forever missed and remembered with love and respect by Saralee, his wife of 68 years; a sister, Leora Bliss of Auburn, Alabama; his children, Sara of Bangor, Wisconsin, Fred of Whiting, Kansas, and Dana of Dighton; two granddaughters, Tara Bentley Moyer and Randy of Denver, Colorado, and Suzanne Bentley Reese and Michael of Olympia, Washington; and four great-grandchildren, Ava and Gavin Reese and Dylan and Brooklyn Moyer. His family and friends will miss his ability to tell interesting and amusing stories.
He is preceded in death by his parents, Arthur and Vera Louise Bentley; his sisters, Reva Lewis and Ada May Seymour; and his brother, Robert Bentley.
Memorial services will be held at the First Christian Church in Dighton in spring or early summer at a date and time to be announced. His ashes will be released by his family to the wind and sky to fall upon the prairie he loved..
“I bequeath myself to the earth, to grow from the grass I love. If you want me again, look for me under your boot soles.” — Walt Whitman, Leaves of Grass
Memorials may be made to the First Christian Church of Dighton, Lane County Historical Society, Gove County Historical Society, and the Rotary Foundation for water projects.